Slug: social-software Date: 2003-01-20 Title: Social Software layout: post

I've found myself with a growing interest lately in a category of applications loosely known as "Social Software". O'Reilly's Emerging Tech conference has a track on it, and I'm still trying to cobble together a definition thereof for my own use. (For further reading, Clay Shirky has a bunch of writings on related topics too).

So far, in my mind, social software is software the reaches out of the desktop or internet and changes the way I move though the world as a person. That's weak, and entirely too vague, I know. It may even be completely wrong. The O'Reilly track:

"Explores work designed to support two-way communications in groups."

That's probably a workable definition on one plane; I think my concept of social software is a bit more hands-on: software that messes with the social dynamic. Ok, perhaps too pretentious. I don't know. Blurring the lines is this thing where I tend to lump in wireless technologies like WiFi and the Danger Hiptop - hardware+software platforms that bring the connective stickiness of the internet into our lives and in our hands - SmartMobs.

So what do you think? What makes software "social"? What do you think of that place where the internet and other data services intersect with our "real lives"? I'd like your thoughts - you can reply to this post and follow the thread here.